herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Hotel Rwanda hero faces charges over rebel funds

The Rwandan hotel manager portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie Hotel Rwanda could face charges by Rwandan authorities over allegations he sent money to opposition commanders.

But the former manager, Paul Rusesabagina, has said he hasn't sent any money to Rwanda in years, and that the government is launching a smear campaign against him because he has opposed President Paul Kagame in the past.

Rwanda prosecutor Martin Ngoga said Mr Rusesabagina helped finance what he described as terrorist activities in Rwanda by helping fund commanders with the FDLR, or Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.

Mr Ngoga said he is asking US officials for assistance in gathering evidence. Some of the financial transactions. he alleges, originated in San Antonio, Texas. Mr Rusesabagina has a house in Texas but says he has never sent money to Burundi or Tanzania.

After his story was publicised, Mr Rusesabagina was hailed as a hero around the world. Former US President George W Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest civilian honour in the US.

However, the government of Rwanda did not view him as a hero after Mr Rusesabagina began criticising the regime of Kagame, who has since called Mr Rusesabagina a "manufactured hero," according to Irishman Terry George, director of Hotel Rwanda.

hnews@herald.ie

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